Side-eye your way through these horrendous terms.
Side-eye your way through these horrendous terms.

Five Food Expressions That Need to Go Away

There are terms we have come to accept in the world of food. We got used to Emeril’s "Bam!” every time he put some spice in his dishes. Guy Fieri throws the term “flavortown” around like bad money.

Celebrity chefs aren’t the only ones who seem to have lost the ability to describe food and cuisine with any creativity. Restaurant critics love the expression “chef-driven.” We have all fallen victim to the trite and tired adjectives and metaphors that litter our vernacular, but some of them have got to go.

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Here are five that we would like to see get buried in the cemetery of overplayed food terminology.

Foodies' last stand.
Foodies' last stand.

5. Foodie

This word sometimes makes its way into our own conversations and writings. It sometimes seems like the right word — the 21st-century version of the old familiars that food writers of the past century used to use, such as "gourmand" and "connoisseur."

But then some Yelper starts off his or her restaurant critique with “My boyfriend and I consider ourselves foodies,” and you know that the establishment that person is writing about has no chance. We all like to think we have great palates, but unless you went to Foodie University (FU), you cannot give yourself that distinction. Maybe your friends call you a foodie, maybe you secretly consider yourself a foodie, but the moment you use it publicly to describe yourself, you sound like an elitist prat. We get it — you really like food. So does the rest of the world.

Loire Valley snobs for the win.
Loire Valley snobs for the win.
Photo by Jeremy Parzen

4. I’m a bit of a (fill-in-the-blank) snob.

This is another self-congratulatory food term that has to stop. We all know that colleague at dinner who says, “I am a bit of a sushi snob” or “I am a bit of a wine snob.” No, you’re just a snob snob.

Five Food Expressions That Need to Go Away (4)
Photo by Barbara Olson

3. Made with love

So often you hear a contestant on a cooking show or a famous chef say that they learned to cook from their mother or grandmother because they cooked with love. And, yes, we all have sentimental attachments to food made by our loved ones, especially regarding our youth. The reality is, your mom was probably making that tuna-rice medley out of financial necessity, not love. Maybe that’s why your father’s blessing at the table was, “Please make this food taste better than it looks.”

Nonna loved you, but she needed to use up the stale bread and leftover spaghetti when she served you panzanella and timbale. My East Texas granny made her chili with too much chili powder and occasionally a few cigarette ashes. I am sure there was a little love in it, but since my mouth was on fire, I couldn’t really tell.

Make it rain.
Make it rain.

3. It’s money

We all know the worst offender when it comes to this term. We already mentioned his name, Guy Fieri, and for him, saying “It’s money” over and over has translated into real dollars. And we suppose when someone says a certain dish is money, it could be taken as an actual fact, because that person probably had to pay for it. Food does cost money. But as a descriptive term for taste? Nope. We are not even getting into yumm-o.

Instagram on a plate.
Instagram on a plate.

2. On a plate

This is another food term that seems to have become way too common. This dish is me on a plate. Chef Pierre’s food is sex on a plate. My dad’s carnitas are Mexico on a plate. Pardon us for pointing out the obvious, but Mexico can’t fit on a plate, sex on a plate is gross, and we don’t want you on a plate because we are not cannibals.

It doth ooze.
It doth ooze.

1. Better Than Sex

This is our No. 1 pet peeve phrase describing food. You know what we’re talking about. You go out with friends, enjoy a nice meal and then dessert comes. There’s the one person who starts moaning into the molten chocolate lava cake and says, “This is better than sex,” while his or her mate’s face has a sad, hound-dog look.

On Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, viewers are constantly bombarded by chefs and television personalities describing whatever decadent dishes they ate as “better than sex.” Understandably, food can be a great pleasure, but vegetables aren’t sexy, unless you’re Mickey Rourke in 9½ Weeks.

So have some consideration for your partner, even if you find a plate of double chocolate chunk cookies more satisfying. If it’s cookie versus nookie, you might want to rethink things.

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